Marketers Who Rely on Social Media Are “Poorly Trained Idiots”

Marketers Who Rely on Social Media Are “Poorly Trained Idiots”

Marketers are wasting money on useless social media campaigns because they believe Facebook, Instagam and Twitter is is a “cooler” way to advertise than traditional, more effective media such as print or TV.

That’s the view of British marketing Professor Mark Ritson (pictured below) who is a branding expert and also Professor of Marketing at Melbourne Business School.


Ritson has given a wide ranging interview to today’s The Australian Financial Review and says many modern-day marketers are favouring social media over better, more effective options and at their peril.

In the interview, Ritson cites a recent Neilsen study that showed 63 per cent of Australians trust ads they saw on TV. Sixty per cent trusted ads they saw in print, while only 46 per cent trust ads they saw on social media feeds.

Professor Ritson believed that a lot of marketers were being persuaded into social media campaigns by clever digital agencies who were good at spruiking their wares but less good at getting results. While another Sensis survey showed that only about 23 per cent of Australians follow brands on social media.

“If any marketer comes to me with a social media marketing budget I know they are an idiot, and poorly trained,” Professor Ritson told The AFR.

“It’s symptomatic of the culture we have created that marketers themselves are reticent to investigate social media in any more detail than saying ‘digital is the future’.

“The hegemonic forces of marketing are such that it’s now career threatening to suggest that I might prefer to spend my money on TV or, God forbid, print [over social media] – you are not allowed to say that and I find that very distasteful.

“Almost half the coverage on Australian media is on social and digital tools, and yet it will probably be between eight to 10 per cent of our spend this year.

“I can tell you with absolutely certainty, as I try to tell marketers, that 85 per cent of video is watched on a TV, that I will be met with incredulity, or the idea that radio has been growing for five years in terms of reach,” Professor Ritson said.

“All they see is 8 million views on Instagram. The fact is, that is a tiny sliver of video viewing in Australia.

“It is a strange situation. I have never seen anything like it in my time.

“I have great sympathy for the TV and print world. I hear the same thing again and again, they meet to a client who says ‘that’s all terrific, but I don’t have a budget for TV at the moment’.

“But the [share] market is right because they look at advertisers who are reticent to invest in TV and print, and they say the [traditional media] market is screwed – and they have a point,” he said.



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